2005 Progress Report: Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields

EPA Grant Number: R829515C006
Subproject: this is subproject number 006 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829515
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites
Center Director: Shackelford, Charles D.
Title: Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields
Investigators: Burgher, Karl , Mellott, Kevin
Institution: Montana Tech of the University of Montana
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2006
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management

Objective:

The Technical Outreach Services for Communities (TOSC) Program was created in 1994 to provide technical assistance to communities impacted by hazardous wastes. This program is invaluable to communities facing hazardous substance management issues that may threaten their health or environment. By using the educational resources of the participating universities, citizens gain a better understanding of the problem allowing them to make informed decisions and participate more fully in activities that affect their communities. This technical assistance is provided to communities free-of-charge and is based on the following principles:

  1. A partnership between a community and TOSC is “two-way.” TOSC will contribute valuable, independent, and necessary information and expertise to assist the community in addressing hazardous waste problems. The community will contribute knowledge, expertise, and time.
  2. A TOSC/community partnership reflects a commitment to fostering and sustaining a relationship for the time period required for meeting the needs of the community.
  3. A TOSC/community partnership is an opportunity for TOSC to learn ways to continuously improve its technical assistance outreach.
  4. TOSC/community partnerships are characterized by the principles of trust, neutrality, and flexibility.

Montana Tech of the University of Montana, a member of the Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center (HSRC), has been associated with the TOSC Program since 1994. Montana Tech will continually add communities using the established site selection process pending available resources. In this endeavor, the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC will meet the following TOSC Program objectives:

  1. create technical assistance materials tailored to the identified needs of a community;
  2. inform community members about existing technical assistance materials, such as publications, videos, and Web sites;
  3. provide technical information to help community members become active participants in cleanup and environmental development activities;
  4. provide independent and credible technical assistance to communities affected by hazardous substance problems;
  5. review and interpret technical documents and other materials for affected communities;
  6. and sponsor workshops, short courses, and other learning experiences to explain basic science and environmental policy related to hazardous substances.

Progress Summary:

Because of the many different types of communities served and the wide variety of contaminants and issues, the creation of a single method to work with all communities is not possible. There are many activities that can be conducted to assist communities including:

  • Conducting technical presentations and seminars.
  • Performing technical document reviews.
  • Providing literature related to treatment technologies.
  • Conducting workshops related to risk.
  • Providing assistance with redevelopment projects (such as field demonstrations).
  • Participating in public meetings.
  • Assisting the community group develop its capacity to monitor sites–such as determining access to monitoring data.
  • Providing information on health and environmental risk of applicable contaminants.

The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC provides assistance through: the development of print-based materials (creation of handbooks or compilation and review of literature); face-to-face meetings, seminars, and workshops; or use of technologies (such as the Internet including development of Web sites, Internet-based instruction, or electronic newsletters). Each of these methods is used as appropriate to help communities better understand technical issues and make informed choices.

The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC provides assistance, as needed, related to scientific and engineering issues, policy, and human and ecological health. The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC also provides assistance to communities that must deal with all types of contaminated sites. In addition, the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC provides information and assistance to other HSRCs that may be dealing with issues concerning mining wastes and acid mine drainage upon request.

Status of Current TOSC Sites

Rocky Mountain Steel Mill, Pueblo, Colorado Collateral Grant

Background. Rocky Mountain Steel Mills (RMSM) is an integrated steel making facility located on a 639 acre site in Pueblo, Colorado. RMSM also is a major recycler of scrap metal and is one of only two plants in the country that manufacture rail. The city of Pueblo is located about 105 miles south of Denver with a population of approximately 125,000, primarily Hispanic. Currently, the RMSM facility employs approximately 800 people.

In 1996, RMSM, together with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), initiated a 30 year RCRA Corrective Action Program. A total of 82 areas of concern (or solid waste management units, SWMUs) were identified at the site by RMSM and CDPHE that contain waste material. Under this Corrective Action Program, RMSM has committed $35 million to cleanup SWMUs at the facility.

Activities/Accomplishments. The TOSC Program has been engaged with the RMSM in the Pueblo community since the fall of 2002. TOSC has met with stakeholders, facilitated meetings between the stakeholders, and identified the various technical issues associated with this site. To assist the community of Pueblo in understanding the impacts of hazardous waste and the RCRA corrective action activities at the RMSM facility, TOSC prepared seven draft fact sheets on RCRA and the RCRA Corrective Action Program for the RMSM facility, after receiving input from the Pueblo community. In addition, TOSC created a brochure to update the community about the continuing cleanup at the Rocky Mountain Steel Mill. In general, TOSC helped assist the community of Pueblo in understanding the impacts of hazardous waste and the RCRA corrective action activities at the facility.

Future. TOSC will continue to attend public meetings, meet with stakeholders to determine how TOSC can best assist the community and provide appropriate expertise, and meet the needs of the community by creating/updating fact sheets, educational materials, and presentations, as necessary.

Salt Creek Community, Colorado

Background. The Salt Creek Residence is located near the RMSM and a local scrap yard. During investigations and background work on RMSM, TOSC became familiar with a variety of environmental issues that have been concerns of this neighborhood for years. These include burning cars for copper scrap recovery, aluminum smelting, and fluid deposition from scrapped cars. In addition, semi-size trucks use a neighborhood street running by a park and the citizens are concerned for the safety of their children. The neighborhood’s demographic is 95 percent Hispanic and relatively poor as compared to the rest of Pueblo, and the site can be classified as an environmental justice site.

Activities/Accomplishments. TOSC initiated discussions with local residents concerning air and groundwater quality at the site. With TOSC’s assistance, the residents started a local community group and have sent a letter expressing their concerns to the State of Colorado. TOSC has been teaching the neighborhood leaders how to work within the state and federal environmental framework.

The TOSC Program has conducted site visits in September 2002, as well as monthly visits and meetings from April to July 2003. During that time, TOSC has met with stakeholders and facilitated meetings between the stakeholders.

The community group with which TOSC is working, went door to door within the community educating the community about the recently completed project of collecting all the mercury thermometers and thermostats and replacing them with digital (non mercury) units. The TOSC program has turned this work back to the EPA Environmental Justice and the Diocese of Pueblo.

TOSC will continue to work with the community to provide additional educational opportunities, similar to the Lead Health Effects Course that was provided in May 2004. That course has been posted on the community’s Web site.

Future. The new TOSC contacts from Colorado State University (CSU)-Pueblo will continue to meet with stakeholders and determine how TOSC can best assist the Salt Creek community. Also EPA has awarded a grant to the community to investigate the status of the community’s health. TOSC will work with the community to assist in the understanding of how they can participate in this study. TOSC has communicated with representatives of the Bessemer Neighborhood Association to arrange a for an educational outreach seminar dealing with various environmental issues.

Bessemer Residence, Pueblo, Colorado

Background. The Bessemer Residence is a small community located in Pueblo due west of Highway 25. It is predominantly comprised of single family homes for approximately 4,000 residents, and it has been subject to environmental contamination from the RMSM for more than 100 years. The neighborhood, comprised primarily of Hispanic residents, has formed an organization, the Bessemer Area Neighborhood Development (BAND) to help the neighborhood address community issues, such as neighborhood redevelopment, lead contamination, air emissions from the RMSM, and trash on neighborhood streets and alleys. TOSC has been working with BAND to determine how to assist the community with regard to environmental issues.

Activities/Accomplishments. The TOSC Program has been engaged with BAND in the Pueblo community since the fall of 2003. In March 2004, BAND organized a meeting that was held to inform the local population about the ongoing process of community redevelopment. TOSC attended the meeting so as to be fully cognizant of the ongoing process of sustainable development within the Bessemer community. This participation helped to keep TOSC up to date on the community activities. In addition, in May 2004, TOSC provided a joint informative workshop with the Salt Creek neighborhood on the topic of the Health Effects of Lead.

Future. EPA has awarded a grant to the community to investigate the status of the community’s health. TOSC will work with the community to determine how best to assist with this study. TOSC also has been in contact with Heather Maio, Environmental Coordinator/Public Information Officer for the Pueblo City-County Health Department Environmental Health Division. Heather has initiated an opportunity for TOSC to participate with the County Air Forum to assist with public education. The Air Forum will hold quarterly educational seminars on various issues of concern associated with community health. This relationship should provide a greater opportunity for TOSC to interact with and assist the community.

Rico, Colorado

Background. Rico is a small mining town set in the mountains in southeastern Colorado, about 25 miles from the historic mining town, Telluride. The town has a population of about 150 people in the winter, which increases to about 250 in the summer, the majority of whom are Caucasian. In mid-year 2003, EPA started to sample for lead in the soils associated with the mine tailings. This action uncovered an existing health threat to the community that required immediate cleanup. ARCO—the principle responsible party, EPA, and the town of Rico have been in the process of planning the cleanup action.

Activities/Accomplishments. The residents of the town of Rico have little knowledge of the wide variety of mining issues that beset the town, so TOSC is developing a short course for the community about basic mining issues.

TOSC attended two public meetings that where held in July and August. At the July meeting, TOSC was introduced to the community and its role to provide educational outreach on mining-related issues was explained to the residents. TOSC also provided the Rico City Council with an educational CD produced by the Mine Waste Technology Program. At the August meeting, all of the stakeholders within the Dolores River Corridor were brought together, providing an opportunity for each group to discuss their concerns.

A TOSC representative attended the 13th Annual Mine Design and Closure Conference in Polson, Montana, as well as a 1-day Modeling Short Course, a 1-day Passive and Active Wetland Short Course, and a 2-day conference on solutions for mining issues.

Future. Mining issues are a high priority to the town due to their impact on health and the environment, as well as concerns associated with ground and surface water pollution. TOSC will provide the Rico community with an opportunity to attend the Mine Design and Closure Conference in Butte, Montana, to be held in April 2006.

Last Chance, Colorado

Background. Last Chance, Colorado, is an unincorporated town located in Washington County with a population of 5,000 (a very low population density of 1.95 people per square mile). Last Chance is so named because it was once the last chance to fuel up before a long drive across the barren plains of Colorado. Last Chance also is the home of the Clean Harbor Hazardous Waste Permitted Land Fill. Clean Harbor has applied for a permit to receive radioactive material (NORM) and technologically enhanced radioactive material (TENORM) that meet their concentration requirements. The limited concentrations comprise a total activity of less than 2,000 picocuries per gram (pCi/g) (natural uranium and thorium decay chain products only), with a maximum Radium 226 concentration less than 400 pCi/g. These materials will have external exposure rates that generally are less than 100 microroentgens per hour (µR/hr), exclusive of background, which is the level required for protection of the general public. The strategy of Clean Harbor’s license application is to limit the concentrations of NORM/TENORM waste to low levels so workers will be considered members of the public and radiation exposures will be limited to no more than 100 millirem per year (mrem/yr), with a goal of 25 mrem/yr or less. This means that even the workers at the facility would not be subjected to radioactive doses that exceed those deemed safe for the general public. In addition, the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) philosophy/process will be applied to further limit potential doses. Wastes received at the site currently, such as metals, have indefinite lives. Radioactive materials proposed for receipt decay over time, and this decay is measured in half-lives (i.e., the time it takes for half of the materials to decay away). The radioactive materials expected at the site, however, include materials with both short half-lives (radon-222: 3.8 days, polonium-210: 138.4 days) and long half-lives (uranium-238: 4,510,000,000 years, thorium-232: 13,900,000,000 years, radium-226: 1600 years).

Activities/Accomplishments. The TOSC Program has met with the community and has provided some education to the community. In August, the TOSC Program put on a community workshop on understanding the health effects of low-level radiation. The workshop, held at a local church, included EPA, the State of Colorado Health Department, and members of the community. Tom Wildman from Colorado School of Mines was the instructor for this course.

Future. The TOSC Program involvement in this community should be relatively short due to the time line of the permit action. TOSC’s involvement will end once the permit is completed, which is expected in early 2006.

Keweenaw Bay Tribe, L’Anse Michigan

Background. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), the second largest tribe in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, resides on the L’Anse Indian Reservation. The reservation is located primarily within Baraga County, with small parcels in Marquette and Ontonagon Counties. The total population of the three counties is 80,969. There are 3,208 enrolled members of the KBIC; more than 800 of them live on or near the reservation and another 800 live in Baraga and the adjacent counties. Although Baraga’s economy has benefited from the success of the Keweenaw Bay gaming activities, the unemployment rate for tribal members living on the reservation is still more than 19 percent. KBIC currently is being courted by Kennecott Mining Company to develop some of its natural resources. This process has been met with mixed emotions within the tribe and the surrounding area. The greatest concern is the possible impact of sulfide mining to both ground and surface water.

Activities/Accomplishments. In early July, Brenda Brandon had conference calls and other communications with Todd Warner (KBIC Executive Director), Kevin Mellott (Montana Tech), Saradhi Balla and Kirk Riley (Michigan State University), and Beth Grigsby (Purdue University) to discuss collaborative TOSC/Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB)/Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities (TOSNAC) efforts in the Yellowdog River area, in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The tribe requested TOSNAC/TOSC assistance to help address technical concerns related to mining impacts to water and land in Michigan, and other issues. Kevin Mellott and Willis Weight met with Tribal Elders and KBIC Natural Resource Department representatives, on a recent trip to the area. TOSC is working directly with the KBIC Natural Resource Department in preparation to review a Kennecott permit application for a nickel and zinc sulfide mine.

On July 6, Brenda Brandon spoke with KBIC Environmental Director, Todd Warner, about KBIC Brownfields outreach needs. The tribe is requesting information related to development of a Brownfields Job Training grant proposal. Additional assistance related to review of the response program for assessment and cleanup of the Sand Point Brownfield also is being requested by the tribe. On July 8, Brenda had a phone conversation with Saradhi Balla about Michigan State University interest in collaborating to address KBIC Brownfields outreach efforts. An additional conference call with HSRC representatives is being planned for August to discuss collaborative efforts to provide technical information and training related to heavy metal contaminant concerns to KBIC.

Future. TOSC may support this group in pursuing a Brownfields Job Training grant. Other TAB assistance may include support with assessment and cleanup of the Sand Point Brownfield site, along recreational shoreline that is impacted by heavy metal contaminants from an old copper stamp mill.

Status of Inactive TOSC Sites

United Steel Workers, Pueblo, Colorado

Background. The RMSM plant has been a fixture in South Central Pueblo for more than 100 years. Currently, the plant employs about 800 workers. Many of the residents surrounding the plant are Hispanic and they have expressed concerns about the air emissions from mill operations. Both the State of Colorado and the Air Division of the CDHPE have initiated air-monitoring efforts, both on the plant and off-site.

Activities/Accomplishments. TOSC has been engaged with the United Steel Workers Union in the Pueblo community since fall 2002, working to identify the various issues associated with the site. TOSC has met with stakeholders and facilitated meetings between the stakeholders. In addition, TOSC has prepared fact sheets that describe air quality and air pollution issues. TOSC has educated the community on how and where to request information on air quality issues from the active regulatory agencies. TOSC has coordinated with the State of Colorado and EPA Region 8 to gather information on the impacts of plant air emissions as a result of changes mandated by the state and federal consent decrees. TOSC has met with representatives of the Union to ascertain what additional information the Union wanted in order to help determine how to deal with air quality issues relating to the emissions from the Rocky Mountain Steel Mills plant. Data from EPA/CDPHE air monitoring in Pueblo should be available and helpful to the Union. A review meeting for the consent decree was planned for June, but cancelled. The TOSC program will discontinue service, but EPA Environmental Justice will continue to work with the United Steel Workers.

Future. This site has been closed for the TOSC Program, but the EPA Environmental Justice Program will continue working with the United Steel Workers Union.

Army Depot/Rural Farmers, Avondale, Colorado

Background. Boone and Avondale are small agricultural communities adjacent to the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The communities are generally poor, and much of the population is Hispanic. The Pueblo Chemical Depot is undergoing decommissioning and closure under the Base Reuse and Closure Act (BRAC). The base currently is storing more than 750,000 chemical rounds containing mustard agent. These rounds are scheduled for neutralization and destruction over the next 10 years. Additionally, historic activities at the Depot have resulted in release of explosive constituents into the groundwater. This plume contaminated the Avondale Municipal Well, requiring the Army to install filters on the Avondale well and to construct a groundwater barrier on the perimeter of the base. Finally, the Pueblo Chemical Depot contains more than 40 SWMUs that are being remediated under RCRA and managed by the CDPHE.

Activities/Accomplishments. Both the groundwater contamination and the proposed destruction of chemical weapons have created controversy and concern within the nearby communities. The communities have reached out for assistance within the larger community and among various regulatory agencies. TOSC has assisted the community in understanding the options available in connection with the regulatory and administrative processes that are active at the site. The farmers and ranchers in the area have discussed a need for an agricultural risk assessment. The TOSC program has given several options for obtaining a risk assessment, including approaching the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment for the financial resources to equip the community with the appropriate information.

TOSC worked with the Midwest HSRC to create an “Institutional Control” Map of the impacted environmental area, using current maps from the Army Corps of Engineers to provide an up to date map for the community of Avondale. This project will provide the community with planning information and help from the Kansas State University Energizing Institutional Control Program. The map was updated in August at the request of the CDPHE and it was redistributed to the Army Depot, the Avondale Water District Manager, and others.

Future. This work will result in creating a baseline agricultural risk assessment, engaging a technical consultant for the agricultural community, and developing a more effective working relationship with the Army and the CDPHE.

Bonner Development Group (BDG), Montana

Background. The Milltown Dam, built at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers in 1907, acts as a repository for sediment and mining wastes. Sediment from upstream mining activities accumulated in the reservoir and caused the formation of a groundwater arsenic plume that impacted Milltown’s drinking water supply. EPA added the site to its National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983. The site is being addressed through the combined actions of federal and state agencies and the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), primarily the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and the Northwestern Energy Corporation. The Milltown Reservoir/Clark Fork River Superfund Site is divided into three Operable Units: Clark Fork River, Milltown Water Supply, and Milltown Reservoir Sediments.

Activities/Accomplishments. The BDG contacted TOSC in late August 2003. An introduction to the TOSC Program was presented to the BDG in September 2003. On October 9, 2003, TOSC attended a public meeting presented by the Montana Natural Damage Restoration Program. The TOSC Program was requested by the BDG to provide technical assistance to the community of Milltown and Bonner concerning the issues pertaining to the Milltown Dam removal. At present, TOSC has attended two meetings concerning the state’s proposed plan for reclamation and remediation. The BDG also requested that TOSC provide some outreach to the community concerning the regulations that must be followed to destroy a historical building. This is a concern because the State of Montana’s proposed planned would include the removal of the dam and the associated powerhouse. This building has been listed as a historical building and the BDG would like to preserve this building, if possible. TOSC has contacted the State Historical Society to collect information concerning the regulations associated with destroying a historical building. TOSC also has been in contact with the State of Montana Natural Damage Restoration Program.

Future. TOSC will continue to provide technical support and public outreach services to the BDG and the community of Milltown and Bonner. The TOSC Program’s future at this site is somewhat unclear because TOSC is just beginning to provide services to this community.

Black Hills Army Depot, South Dakota

Background. The former Black Hills Army Depot is located 10 miles southwest of Edgemont, South Dakota. Nicknamed “Igloo” for the 830 large concrete, earth-covered ammunition storage igloos peppered throughout the 21,095-acre former munitions depot, Black Hills was used for long-term storage of ammunition, propellants, and chemical agents. The depot was closed in 1967 and the property was subsequently purchased by several individuals and organizations.

Environmental restoration activities at the former Black Hills Army Depot are facing increasing scrutiny and criticism from local residents. TOSC has worked with the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) in providing a forum in which the members of the community and representatives from the Army, EPA, and the state regulatory agency work together to achieve a common goal cleanup. The primary concerns at this site have been contaminated soil and ground water, and contaminant transfer.

Activities/Accomplishments. The Program TOSC was engaged with this site prior to the restructuring of the National HSRCs. Kansas State University, the former lead institution of the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC, was responsible for the previous TOSC activities at this site. The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC has attempted to open lines of communication with the community stakeholders. TOSC has contacted the Army Corps of Engineers, the South Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Kansas State University, and EPA. TOSC also obtained background information on the site, including site history. The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC has attempted to open lines of communication with the community stakeholders by mailing brochures and letters to 40 community members and RAB participants in April 2003. TOSC also was discussed in a 2003 RAB newsletter. No phone or e-mail inquiries were made to the TOSC office.

Future. TOSC has not been contacted about the site, which has been dormant for some time, TOSC now considers the site closed, but will continue to monitor community requests.

Utelite Cement Plant – Davis County, Utah

Background. The TOSC Program has been contacted by a concerned citizen concerning the possible expansion of the Utelite Cement Plant. TOSC has been in contact with this citizen, and the initial concerns have been alleviated since the August meeting with the plant. There remain some concerns about water issues and health impacts.

Activities/Accomplishments. TOSC is in the initial stages of developing a relationship with the community and determining its role at this site. TOSC is providing information to the citizens about the possible health issues associated with the mining process.

Future. TOSC will continue to provide the community with education and educational materials upon request.

Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, Montana

Background. Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation provides a home for about 2,500 members of the Chippewa-Cree tribe. The reservation is near the Canadian border, in north central Montana. It is graced by the Bear Paw Mountains, which provide dramatic contrast to the flat bottomland of the area. Rocky Boy’s residents who work on the reservation are employed by the schools, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, and tribal government. There also are some wheat farming and post-pole production on the reservation. The tribe is actively working toward development of its natural resources to be able to provide more jobs and income for its people. One of the major concerns on the Rocky Boy Reservation is groundwater that has been potentially impacted by a former Superfund site and agency landfill. The tribe is primarily concerned with protecting culturally significant plant species and ground/surface water protection.

Activities/Accomplishments. The TOSC Program has been engaged with the Rocky Boy Reservation since summer 2001. TOSC has provided an educational short course to the faculty and students at Stone Child College as well as the Tribal Environmental Protection Program and Water Program Associates. In 2001, TOSC provided a Groundwater Monitoring Short Course which coincided with a Cultural Risk Course presented by the TOSNAC Program (Haskell Indian Nations University). In 2002, TOSC provided assistance to the Rocky Boy Environmental Program with underground storage tank (UST) issues. In 2003, TOSC provided a short course on Groundwater and Surface Water as well as Geology of the Bear Paw Mountains. In 2004, TOSC conducted a workshop for the students of Stone Child College on the resources available via the Internet, with a focus on the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) created by Montana Tech’s New Media Communications Center. TOSC also invited a representative from the Rocky Boy Environmental Office to attend the Mine Design and Closure Conference in Polson Montana in April. Contaminated groundwater remediation will be a topic at the conference and the Montana DEQ, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be well represented, which should provide the Rocky Boy representative a forum for interaction with these regulatory agencies.

Future. TOSC will continue to keep the lines of communication open with the community and provide education and educational materials to the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation upon request.

Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB)

Objectives. Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s Brownfields Program has grown into a proven, results-oriented program that has changed the way contaminated property is perceived, addressed, and managed. The program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse Brownfields. There are more than 450,000 Brownfields in the United States, and cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped open land, and both improves and protects the environment. Initially, EPA provided small amounts of seed money to local governments that launched hundreds of 2-year Brownfield “pilot” projects. The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act expanded EPA’s assistance by providing new tools for the public and private sectors to promote sustainable Brownfields cleanup and reuse. The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC TAB Program addresses Brownfields sites throughout EPA Region 8. The objective of the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC TAB Program is to provide technical assistance to meet the needs and desires of the community or group seeking assistance.

Approach, Results, and Benefits. Activities to provide technical assistance can take many forms, including leadership training, risk assessment, training concerning Brownfields processes and site assessment, and technical information concerning clean-up alternatives. Leadership training for community leaders focuses on the technical side of clean-up activities, interaction with government agencies, environmental regulations, clean-up technologies, and risk assessment. Risk assessment training is provided for local government planners, developers, and community members to help build knowledge of basic mechanisms and protocols of risk assessment. Topics include site inventory, characterization, end use, and environmental quality requirements as part of the measurement of risk. Training covering the technical aspects of the Brownfields redevelopment process is provided to a variety of stakeholders. Specific subject matter is tailored to local requirements and interests. Training on the assessment of hazardous waste sites helps community leaders and local government environmental professionals develop a better understanding of site assessment principles. Sessions focus on integration of assessment with land use decisions and provide information about the acceptable tools for data collection. Local government officials, developers, and environmental/planning professionals are provided with the technical information needed and taught how to make decisions on the use of appropriate technology for sustainable land use.

The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC, is assisting EPA Region 8 Brownfields in many ways, such as through the development of print-based materials (creation of handbooks or compilation and review of literature); through face-to-face meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops; or through use of technologies (such as the Internet including development of Web sites, Internet-based instruction, Internet conferencing, or electronic newsletters). Each of these methods will be used as appropriate to help communities better understand technical issues and support redevelopment of Brownfields. TAB’s ultimate goal is to assist in the redevelopment of Brownfields properties by providing information and support to communities.

Status of Current TAB Sites

Crow Nation, Montana

Background. A former carpet mill (Bighorn Carpet Mill) located on the Crow Tribal Reservation has been designated a Brownfield site by EPA. The Crow Nation has received a Brownfields pilot grant to perform an environmental site assessment and plan for clean-up. This work will allow the Crow Nation to develop plans for converting the property into a productive community-based facility.

Activities/Accomplishments. The TAB Program has provided outreach on the status of the Big Horn Carpet Mill to the Crow community. In March 2004, the TAB Program participated with the Crow Brownfields Program in providing the Crow Community with an update of the various Brownfields projects. Information concerning the Big Horn Carpet Mills Phase I and II Assessment was provided, and the Crow Brownfields Job Training Program and the Crow Brownfields Programs award of State and Tribal Response Program were announced. In conjuction with the Crow Brownfields Job Training Program, the TAB Program has provided the Crow Community with extensive outreach associated with the environmental issues that plague the Crow Reservation. In November 2004, Mark Peterson of the Mine Waste Technology Program at Montana Tech conducted a public meeting to educate the community on the proposed air permit modifications proposed by the Rocky Mountain Power Plant. Approximately 50 Crow residents attended.

The TAB Program also has provided education to the Crow community on the air permitting process as well as the air permit modification request by the Rocky Mountain Power Plant. The Crow community is very concerned with the building of a Coal Burning Power Plant located in Hardin, Montana located on the Northern Boarder of the Crow Reservation and the State of Montana. The TAB Program also worked with the State of Montana’s DEQ to provide a public meeting to both the Hardin community as well as the Crow Tribal concerning the air permit modification.

Future. The TAB Program will continue to maintain contact with the Crow Tribal Government and Tribal College (Little Big Horn College) to provide outreach associated with the environmental concerns that plague the Crow Reservation. The Crow Brownfields Job Training Program Grant ended March 30, 2005. The TOSC Program will maintain contact with the Crow Tribal Government to assist in future Brownfield assistance. Currently, the Brownfields Department at the Crow Nation is looking into UST mapping and clean-up. The TAB Program will assist their program in the coming months.

Fort Belknap Reservation, Montana

Background. The Gross Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes, referred to as the Fort Belknap Indian Community (FBIC), reside on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The reservation is located in remote north central Montana, and is included in portions of Blaine and Phillips Counties and about 40 miles from the Canadian border. The boundaries of the reservation are the Milk River to the north, the Little Rocky Mountains to the south, and survey lines to the east and west.

On July 19, 2001, EPA awarded the FBIC a Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot Grant. There currently are two sites that have been designated by EPA and the Fort Belknap Community Council (FBCC) as Brownfields Assessment Pilot Sites—the Old Agency Landfill and the Snake Butte rock quarry, both of which are located wholly on tribally owned lands. The Old Agency Landfill, located 1 mile east of the Agency, was in operation for approximately 60 years. During this time, the landfill reportedly accepted residential, industrial, and agricultural wastes and allegedly received unspecified amounts of pesticides and PCBs. Residents, federal agencies, and health facilities utilized the landfill for years since the agency was formed in the early 1900s. The landfill was closed in 1970. The Snake Butte rock quarry, located approximately 10 miles south of the landfill was used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1930s for obtaining rip-rap during the construction of the Fort Peck Dam. Upon completion of the dam, the butte was left without any form of clean-up. There remains evidence of blasting, railroad construction, and other debris that have damaged the area.

Activities/Accomplisments. The TAB Program has provided Brownfields Workshops to the Fort Belknap community and has worked with the Fort Belknap Environmental Protection Program in evaluating RFPs associated with the Brownfields Assessment Grant. TAB also has been assisting FBIC with completing the reporting requirements associated with the Brownfields Job Training Program. TAB will continue to assist in public outreach and education to the Fort Belknap Community.

TAB began working with the Fort Belknap Indian Community (FBIC) in fall 2002, when FBIC requested assistance with its Brownfields Assessment Grant, concerning the Snake Butte Rock Quarry and a former landfill located near the Milk River. This program has provided environmental education to the Fort Belknap Reservation as well as worked closely with the Fort Belknap’s Brownfields Coordinator assisting with reports and questions concerning Brownfields Programs. TAB has assisted the FBIC with public outreach planning as well as review of the RFP process and technical review of the Phase I and Phase II assessment reports. The FBIC was awarded a Brownfields Job Training Grant in June 2003, and has requested assistance in providing education associated with the grant. Since June 2004, Montana Tech has provided the FBIC with six courses as part of their Brownfields Job Training Program.

Future. The Brownfields Job Training Grant provides the FBIC with a viable work force to continue to clean up both Brownfields sites as well as any other environmental issues on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. TAB will continue to assist the FBIC in providing education to the community, as well as assistance with the Brownfields Job Training Grant. TAB, along with the Mine Waste Technology Program (MWTP), will bring a HAZWOPER class to the Fort Belknap Environmental Department in November 2005, in an effort to assist the Hurricane Katrina victims. Students will be dispatched to New Orleans to assist in the cleanup.

Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Montana

Background. The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is located in northwestern Montana along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Canada borders its 1.5 million acres to the north and to the west is Glacier National Park. The largest community on the reservation is Browning, which is home to Blackfeet Community College. There are eight major lakes and 175 miles of fishing streams on the reservation. Tribal permits are required to fish on the reservation. The tribe operates four campgrounds. There are 14,700 enrolled tribal members; about 7,000 live on or near the reservation.

A manufacturing plant on the reservation produces pencils, pens, and markers. This factory is the center of concern with the community. This site was a former Superfund site, and the community is concerned about the cleanup that took place. One of the TAB Program’s goals is to sample the groundwater near the pencil factory for trichloroethylene (TCE). Other major uses of the land are ranching and farming. The principle crops are wheat, barley, and hay.

Activities/Accomplishments. The TAB Program conducted a half-day Brownfields 101 course at the Blackfeet Community College in April 2004. This course was broadcasted on the local channels to the Blackfeet Community. TAB has provided the Blackfeet Environmental Department samples of successful Brownfields Job Training Program proposals. TAB also has been contacted by the Blackfoot Environmental Program to provide technical review of its Brownfields Job Training Grant.

Future. The TAB Program has been working with the Blackfeet Environmental Office on determining a possible educational short course that would be beneficial to the Blackfeet Community. It is expected that the Brownfields grant proposals will be awarded by EPA in May. The Blackfeet Community College has submitted a Brownfields Job Training Grant with Montana Tech as a partner in the grant.

Newburg, Missouri

Background. Newburg is a small, rural, south central Missouri community impacted by a railroad yard Brownfield. This site is being cooperatively managed by the TAB teams at Kansas State and Montana Tech. Newburg was founded by the Frisco Railroad in the early 1880s. By the 1940s, as diesel engines took over, the need for Newburg’s railroad presence faded and it became a sleepy location nested on the banks of the Little Piney River.

Today, Newburg is being reborn and Montana Tech and Kansas State are helping to get that accomplished. The Houston House (historic hotel) is getting a facelift, a championship golf course is being constructed down the road toward Fort Leonard Wood, the community is in the process of redeveloping a 27 acre Brownfield between town and the river for a park. Historic interpretation of the Round House Foundation and the Railroad story also are being developed, a high school track will be built, and other businesses will be reborn. In addition, a tourism emphasis is being examined to take advantage of the Mark Twain National Forest that sits to the south. Newburg is becoming an excellent example of successful multicenter TAB cooperation.

Activities/Accomplishments. The City is working with the railroad to acquire 27 acres on the Little Piney River. The Bank of Newburg has committed funds for the land. The City has contracted with the railroad to purchase 27 acres on the Little Piney River. Additional lands may be acquired over time. The community also has purchased the Houston House, a flagship project of Historic Redevelopment. The Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway is reviewing the Environmental Agreement again because it is the first buy-sell for a Missouri-Brownfield.

TAB reviewed the original and revised Phase I Environmental Assessment reports, and a Phase II Assessment report for a former railroad maintenance and switching facility, at the request of the City. The reviews included suggestions that the City may wish to discuss with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (which paid for the assessment work), to ensure the City qualifies for liability exemptions as a prospective purchaser, to understand the regulatory status of potential environmental concerns, and to understand future requirements if the property is purchased for redevelopment. A written input was provided on July 28 and September 19.

TAB attends monthly meetings with the community and is helping with the technical aspects of the characterization. A case study on the site is being prepared.

Future. Ed Mahoney, an expert in national tourism from Michigan State, has agreed to contribute to the project. He will come to Newburg in the near future to observe, inspect, and make recommendations. Montana Tech also is involved with the socioeconomic development, community and public relations, and the baseline implementation of a visioning effort. Karl Burgher visits Newburg every few months from West Virginia. Kansas State will follow up with visioning sessions with its landscape architects and contribute its Brownfields technical expertise. Both Montana Tech and Kansas State will be involved with any further characterization that is necessary and perhaps a Job Training Grant in the next fiscal year.

Shelby, Montana

Background. The Marias River, named after Meriwether Lewis’ cousin, winds its way through Shelby, past the Marias Valley Golf Course and Country Club as well as Williamson Park, where camping and outdoor recreation can be found. With a population 3,300 today Shelby is attempting to regain some of its past splendor. The Shelby Middle School is one of three schools that have been abandoned in the area after the new K-6 elementary school was built. The Town of Shelby has been awarded a Brownfields Clean-up Grant and Lorette Carter Community Economic Development Director contacted the TAB Program to assist them through this process. The primary concerns related to this site are asbestos, lead, historic preservation, and economic redevelopment.

Activities/Accomplishments. The first site visit from the TAB Program is scheduled for July. TAB has contacted Montana’s EPA Brownfields Coordinator to inform her of TAB’s involvement as well as to request for Shelby a Targeted Brownfields Assessment Application. The application has been forwarded to Montana’s EPA Brownfields Coordinator.

Future. TAB will be assisting the Town of Shelby with understanding the Brownfields Programs as well as helping with community revitalization.

Status of Inactive TAB Sites

Bear Paw Development Hill County, Montana

Background. Hill County is located in north central Montana covering an area of approximately 2,896 square miles with a total population of 16,673 (or a population density of approximately 5.8 persons per square mile). The largest community within Hill County is Havre with a population of 9,621 (based on the 2000 census), and the primary industry in the county is agriculture. Hill County also includes a portion of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation and is the regional trade center for the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. According to the 2000 census, 2,884 American Indians live in Hill County.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway maintenance shop is located in Havre along with a diesel-refueling stop for all trains traveling Montana’s northern line. A total of approximately 35 trains per day travel through Havre and utilize the diesel refueling station. A variety of light manufacturing plants also are located in the community as well as former gas stations, paint shops, dry cleaners, and various agriculture-related businesses.

The concerns related to this site include railroad refueling and maintenance areas, abandoned USTs, former industrial properties, former auto body repair and paint shops, nonpoint source pollution, and groundwater contamination.

Activities/Accomplishments. Because this project is in the early stages, the TAB Program’s primary goal will be to help identify potential development opportunities and to provide information and support to the Havre community. TAB will offer various meetings and workshops to help the community better understand the technical issues surrounding the Brownfields Program.

At the request of Hill County, TAB completed a site visit and presentation of the TAB capabilities in March 2003. Hill County submitted a Brownfields Grant Proposal for funding to EPA in March 2003. Although Hill County was not awarded funding, Hill County is expected to resubmit the application this next year and has requested training on topics such as introductory hydrogeology, groundwater contamination, and Brownfields development. In addition, TAB will be working with Kansas State University to develop an “Institutional Control” map of contaminated areas for city planning. This map will serve as a tool for Havre and as an example case study for Kansas State University to develop an institutional control project.

Future. TAB will meet the needs of the community by creating and providing educational materials, workshops, and/or presentations, as necessary. Overall, the public will develop an enhanced understanding of a variety of issues such as groundwater contamination from petroleum contaminated sites so that private investors will more likely consider developing local real estate. The “Institutional Control Map” of contaminated areas may be used as a planning tool for Havre.

Spirit Lake Reservation, Fort Totten, North Dakota

Background. The Spirit Lake Sioux belong to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Band. The Tribe’s ancestral grounds lie in what is now Minnesota. An 1862 gold discovery in Minnesota enticed gold seekers and settlers through Minnesota Sioux Country, resulting in the Minnesota Uprising that same year. Following this conflict, many of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Band migrated southwest to what is now known as the Fort Totten, North Dakota, area. The reservation was established in 1867 by a treaty between the U.S. Government and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Bands. The Candeska Cikana Community College recently received a Brownfields Training Grant and has requested TAB assistance. The concerns at this site include contamination to groundwater and surface water, Brownfields issues, hazardous waste, and cultural issues.

Activities/Accomplishments. Fort Totten and the Candeska Cikana Community College located on the Spirit Lake Reservation have contacted the TAB Program requesting assistance with their Brownfields Job Training Grant. In particular, they needed help locating educational contractors. TAB has provided assistance in locating and contacting contractors to provide the job training. This was completed and assistance was terminated. This site will be closed.

Future. Future involvement with the TAB Program will be evaluated upon need for assistance as well as budgetary issues.

Gold Hill Mesa Tailings Site, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Background. This 200-acre site formerly contained a gold ore processing plant. The ore was shipped to the site from mines located in the Cripple Creek mining area. The site, located within the city limits of Colorado Springs, has been abandoned for several years.

Recently, the site has been proposed for high-density residential use. An environmental assessment was performed under the State of Colorado’s Voluntary Cleanup Program. The results of that assessment identified the presence of several heavy metals in the soils and concluded that the site was appropriate for residential use if soil was stabilized and a cap placed over the site. Site grading is underway.

Community members living nearby have been concerned about three principal issues:

  • Does the proposed capping provide sufficient protection for the prospective residents?
  • Are adequate measures being taken to suppress dust during the site grading?
  • Will there be contaminated runoff from the site into the nearby stream system?

Activities/Accomplishments. TAB representatives met with community members to ascertain concerns and to develop an understanding of the site. Community members took TAB representatives on a tour of the site and provided preliminary documentation regarding site activities. TAB has created an awareness of the regulatory process used in assessing this site and has facilitated access to current environmental records, thus permitting community members to decide on an appropriate course of action. TAB has directed the community to the appropriate history and environmental documentation.

Future. This site will be closed by the TAB Program, but EPA and the State of Colorado will continue working with this community. TAB will remain accessible to community requests.

Future Activities:

See the future sections of the projects described in the report.

Supplemental Keywords:

Technical Outreach Services for Communities, TOSC,Technical Assistance to Brownfields, TAB, groundwater, industry sectors, waste, water, ecological risk assessment, ecology, ecosystems, ecology and ecosystems, environmental chemistry, environmental engineering, geology, geochemistry, toxicology, microbiology, hazardous, hazardous waste, mining-NAIC 21, selenium, acid mine drainage, acid mine runoff, aquatic ecosystems, arsenic, contaminant transport, contaminated sediments, contaminated marine sediment, contaminated waste sites, contaminated sites, contaminated soil, field monitoring,mining-impacted runoff, sediment transport, stream ecosystems, suspended sediment, sediments, mining, remediation, metal mobility, subsurface, extraction of metals, heavy metals, leaching of toxic metals, metal release, metal wastes, metals, metals-contaminated soil, mining wastes, remediation technologies, risk assessment,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Industry Sectors, Waste, Water, Contaminated Sediments, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Mining - NAIC 21, Hazardous Waste, Brownfields, Ecological Risk Assessment, Environmental Engineering, Hazardous, risk assessment, brownfield sites, contaminant transport, contaminated marine sediment, contaminated waste sites, suspended sediment, runoff, sediment transport, acid mine drainage, remediation technologies, training and outreach, stream ecosystems, natural organic matter, field monitoring, mining, Selenium, treatment, aquatic ecosystems, technical assistance, water quality, technology transfer, outreach and education, environmental education, arsenic, mining wastes, metal contamination, redox, groundwater, heavy metals, mining impacted watershed, technical outreach

Relevant Websites:

http://www.engr.colostate.edu/hsrc/ Exit
http://www.toscprogram.org/tosc-overview.html Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2002
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829515    HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829515C001 Redox Transformations, Complexation and Soil/Sediment Interactions of Inorganic Forms of As and Se in Aquatic Environments: Effects of Natural Organic Matter
    R829515C002 Fate and Transport of Metals and Sediment in Surface Water
    R829515C003 Metal Removal Capabilities of Passive Bioreactor Systems: Effects of Organic Matter and Microbial Population Dynamics
    R829515C004 Evaluating Recovery of Stream Ecosystems from Mining Pollution: Integrating Biochemical, Population, Community and Ecosystem Indicators
    R829515C005 Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center Training and Technology Transfer Program
    R829515C006 Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields
    R829515C007 Evaluation of Hydrologic Models for Alternative Covers at Mine Waste Sites
    R829515C008 Microbial Reduction of Uranium in Mine Leachate by Fermentative and Iron-Reducing Bacteria
    R829515C009 Development and Characterization of Microbial Inocula for High-Performance Passive Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C010 Reactive Transport Modeling of Metal Removal From Anaerobic Biozones
    R829515C011 Assessment of Electrokinetic Injection of Amendments for Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C012 Metal Toxicity Thresholds for Important Reclamation Plant Species of the Rocky Mountains
    R829515C013 An Improved Method for Establishing Water Quality Criteria for Mining Impacted Streams